Cyber Monday: Singularity Alert?

By Micah Hanks

Congratulations to all of you who survived Black Friday out there… I trust things went well for you in that regard (whereas I, for one, elected to remain indoors for as long as possible, as a few of you who may have seen my Black Friday editorial over at Mysterious Universe may have already ascertained).

On the heels of that grimmest day of holiday shopping that transpires annually, today is something of a holiday all unto itself; known rather informally as “Cyber Monday,” an occasion when geeks take to the streets and scour department stores and shopping malls for great new deals on electronics goodies and gadgetry.

Thus, in keeping with the spirit of technological growth and innovation, I thought there may be no better way to celebrate such and underrated holiday of glowing geekdom than to look at the multitude of headlines this morning that appear to be pointing toward the imminent rise of machine intelligence, and the potential takeover of smart robots that employ artificial intelligence in a complex array of neurobics that challenges the thinking capacities of the human mind’s fragile biology… or worse, maybe they’ll just enslave us and turn us into hamburger meat… who knows.

A new Center for the Study of Existential Risk will soon be opened at Cambridge University for just such purposes of looking at the dangers associated with the rise of intelligent machines. The British Daily Mail recently reported:

Huw Price, Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy and another of the centre’s three founders, said such an ‘ultra-intelligent machine, or artificial general intelligence (AGI)’ could have very serious consequences.

He said: ‘Nature didn


Comments

Cyber Monday: Singularity Alert? — 1 Comment

  1. As an outsider, the need for a CyberMonday seems a bit moot, seeing how by far the biggest sales reported during Black Friday tend to be flatscreen TVs and computers.

    But anyway…

    During our own tropicalized version of Black Friday, I couldn’t resist the opportunity of replacing my old broken Xbox console. At last I was able to play Mass Effect 3, and experience the conclusion of this impressive multi-game saga.

    And just last weekend the game forced me to decide between the survival of the Geth, and the Quarians. For those unfamiliar with Mass Effect, the Quarians are an alien race who decided to create a limited A.I. form of life, the Geth, to use them as a workforce. Unfortunately for the Quarians the Geth manage to attain sentience and rebel against their masters –though in the 3rd game the player learns that it was in fact the Quarians’ fault that the Geth decided to turn against their organic creators.

    Knowing that, I still decided to choose the Quarians. Losing Tali was just too much to bear ;)

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